New Jersey health officials are warning of a possible measles exposure after a person traveling through Newark Liberty International Airport on Christmas Eve was confirmed to have the disease.
The New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement Friday that the person with measles -- a highly contagious disease -- arrived Christmas Eve in Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport on a flight from Brussels. Anyone who was at the airport from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the same day could have been exposed.
Anyone who hasn't been vaccinated against the measles or hasn't had the measles is at risk if they're exposed, said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist.
Other passengers on the infected person's flight from Brussels will be notified by their local health department, the department said.
Anyone who is infected could show symptoms as late as Jan. 14, 2019.
Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. The disease can cause serious complications, like pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Pregnant women who contract the measles risk suffering a miscarriage or premature birth, the department said.
The illness is spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. It also can be spread when someone comes in contact with saliva or mucus from a measles-infected person.
The Department of Health stressed that anyone who suspects they were exposed should call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency room so that others are not exposed.
The confirmed case and exposure are not related to the ongoing measles outbreak in Ocean County, New Jersey, said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
“Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles, so I urge all residents across the state to get vaccinated to protect their health,” Elnahal said.